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As a philosophy enthusiast, I have always loved Rene Descartes’s take on the existence of things which is: “I think, therefore I am.” He believed the only way we could be certain that we exist is when we are thinking. Given the nature of the rapid advancements of our time, I believe he would be certain that we exist just by the sheer numbers of inventions that have cropped up over the last decade.
What if we switched up his quote a bit to say: “I create, therefore I am.” In the context of 2015, wouldn’t it be fair to say that people who create products, businesses, art, music, and even content have infinite existence and visibility by virtue of what they create. Whether or not the things they create are successful doesn’t much matter. The very act of creating something is an extension of their existence as a human being. In many cases- what they create has a lasting effect and impact long after the creator is gone.
These lasting effects are footprints that ensure that future generations have blueprints (some unfinished) that peak curiosity and fuel invention and innovation for a long time to come. This is how it has been and so it will continue in the future.
When we look back at this time in history, it will mark rapid advances in technology and innovation. It is a time ripe with opportunity for anyone to create something new and/or improve something that could be better. In retrospect, we may question anyone who failed to create anything useful during this period. Yes, you have to have an idea, plus a plan and the audacity to believe in your ability to have an impact- but how can you not be inspired to create something with so much innovation and necessity at play?
To be a creator doesn’t mean you need to be building multi-million dollar companies. It can be as simple as creating something that solves a problem for one person. For that matter, you may even create something that improves your own quality life. It would be self-serving, but at least you created something. Let’s take a broader look at the art of creation and this period of time in our history. There are still unperfected technologies, deficits of basic resources like clean water and adequate food in many countries around the globe; as well as socio-economic catastrophes that seem never-ending.
If you can sit back and watch all of these human and technological conundrums continue into the next century without recognizing what your part in it is- that is disappointing. The only way we continue to exist is by creating things that are needed and keeping the innovation going. I am often asked what the most important aspect of the future is. My answer is always: “the people” or “humans”. We have the ability to change it all.
This is why I am so honored and excited to be attending the upcoming TED@IBM conference in San Francisco on October 15th. I am in a state of constant creation, but I am always eager to be fed new perspectives, ideas and inspiration that in turn inform everything from how I live my life to how I run my business. This year’s theme is “Necessity and Invention”. Each of the speakers touches on some aspect of the human experience by discussing a “need” or “an invention” that will impact us all.
To see the agenda, lineup of impressive speakers and register for this event, visit IBM.com/TED for more information. In addition, I will be live tweeting from this event and expect there to be lots of live content being streamed during the event. To keep up with the latest and greatest during the conference, follow the #TEDatIBM hashtag.